Marijuana Policy on Campus Will Not Change if Legalized Statewide

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Published February 14, 2018
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The Montclarion
An undisclosed student smokes marijuana from a tobacco pipe. Christina Urban | The Montclarion

Since the New Jersey election of Phil Murphy as governor, legalization of recreational marijuana has been a hot topic of discussion among students.

One of the questions posed by the student body is whether or not this legal change would mean anything for the campus policy and culture.

“Unfortunately, even if the state policy were to change, we also must adhere to federal regulations,” said the Director of Student Conduct and Dean of Students Jerry Collins. “As we receive federal aid, we cannot condone marijuana on our campus, regardless of any potential state decriminalization.”

Besides recreational marijuana, the university has a ban on medicinal marijuana since it is not legal at a national level.

“There would be no change to university policy regarding either recreational or medicinal marijuana,” Collins said.

Some students support the university’s decision.

“I think that makes sense,” said sophomore illustration animation major Alexa Kitchmire. “I think every university’s standards are different, especially because Montclair [State] is a dry campus, so they’d have the same restrictions on recreational marijuana.”

University Police Capt. Kieran Barrett said they are in charge of enforcing the laws of the state of New Jersey.

“As a law and at the current time, those prescribed medical marijuana are part of a statewide database that we cross reference if it comes into question,” Barrett said. “No person is permitted in any case to smoke in any of our buildings as per N.J. law.”

Although the administration has legal backup for their decision of not changing the policy, some students feel like some changes on the policy wouldn’t be necessarily negative.

“I’m really not opposed to it at all,” said sophomore biology major Saeed Yasis. “I personally do not take part in recreational drugs.”

Despite not being opposed to the consumption of marijuana, Yasis believed that everything has a limit.

“Maybe keep it out of a classroom setting,” Yasis said. “It could be distracting at that point if someone has the smell of it on them or even had possession of it inside the classroom.”

Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington said the university is bound to follow not only state laws but federal laws as well.

“Even if marijuana is decriminalized in the state, it is still a violation under federal law,” Pennington said. “Since we are recipients of federal monies, particularly in the area of student financial aid, we are bound to follow federal laws and guidelines to be eligible for those funds.”

While some students have clear stands on the matter, some students don’t feel like this affects them one way or another.

“I honestly don’t care,” said sophomore visual arts major Julio Lopez. “I don’t smoke it but if other people [do], I honestly don’t care.”

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